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What to use as a shim?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by berklee46, Dec 8, 2003.

  1. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    Because of my crazy action preferences, the bridge on my new bass isn't able to get the action quite as low as I'd like. It gets lower than most people would ever need, but I like it even lower, so the builder told me that the best thing to do would be to shim the neck just a bit - no big deal.

    What do you guys use for shimming the neck? Is it something I'd have at the house?

    Thanks for any ideas.
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Pieces of the blade of a carpet knife.
  3. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    You mean one like this?

    I've got that here at the house, but it seems small compared to the neck pocket. I thought I'd need something that is about the same size as the pocket...
  4. Tape.

    duct tape is what i have used; while im aware this will leave a mess should i decide to remove it, thats no biggy.

    I made an "I" design in the neck pocket, while about 3 layers of duct tape; totalling about 1.5 mm thick.

    it worked wonders! :)

    after time i think the tape may end getting compressed, but i'm not too sure...
  5. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    I've used business cards.
  6. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    I've also read that people have used strips of credit cards.
    I know it's probably being very anal, but wouldn't a business card compress a bit over time?

    I just want to make sure I use the right material so that I don't have to do this again later on down the line.
  7. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I use wood shims that you can get at the hardware/lumber store. The ones carpenters use to "square-up" things.
  8. You can purchase Basswood strips from any hardware store for about .50 a foot, used for shimming.


  9. I like Treena's choice most of all but I've used all sorts of things - business cards, aluminum from a coke can, aluminum tape, etc. Nearly anything that's thick enough. Using a piece of the neck material or the body wood is probably the absolute best but substitutions work well too.

    And I do like to make a shim spans the entire neck pocket. This will keep the neck level to the body and won't invite one neck screw pulling down more than another.

    Don't worry about compression. If that were a problem, all of your necks would be loose in the pocket.
  10. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    I plan on cutting up some local indian casino playing cards for my current project "voxder".
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I've always used veneer simply because, in my mind, it always made it more like genuine tech work and less like rigging the thing so I could play it. But that's just me :)

    I think the first time I ever did it, I used the cover off a pack of Jokers. :eek: But that was a few years ago.

    A utility knife blade is probably too thick except in the most extreme situations.
  12. I had to do something to make the action correct on my used MM SR5 when I first bought it. I don't play with a very low action, but the first and fifth string bridge saddles were already as low as possible (and the neck was straight), so I knew I had to shim the neck.

    I didn't know nothin' about materials when I attempted this, but I thought I'd contact Ernie Ball and see what they might use. They sent me back (at no charge) an envelope with three assorted thicknesses (and color coordinated, too!) of plastic shims, about a half-inch wide and long enough to span the width of the neck pocket (even had the screw holes through 'em). I took a guess and chose the middle thickness shim, installed it, and voila -- after readjusting the bridge, everything was good.

    But I think just about any non-compressible material would do the trick.
  13. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 9, 2021

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